Essex Churches on a Hot Day

A church built of flint
in a late summer landscape
of sunburnt corn.

How the sky in this place,
rarified by time since Roman conquest,
falls prostrate on the gladius

gripped in the swill of pig glaciers
snouting up roots
of foreign faiths. Air silent,

sunspilled by the church
pushing its thorn into heaven,
grain falling down and filling the fields.

* * *

A new perspective
from beside the reservoir
of religious faith.

A simple church
on the edge of a hill,
the reservoir flashes its broadcast

to heaven from below.
One person's grave, then another
and another, we treat them all

with disinterest, not noticing
the names of our friends
cut in natural lines

by creeping ivy. The tracks
of a snail leaving clues
beneath stones, on walls and pathways.

* * *

Whose was the last funeral
you attended. Which of your friends
or family have you forgotten?

You wished to peep
at the lifeless husk
and make one last arrangement.

If it were possible
to bind together one last instant,
tie with corn stems

the next word,
what would it be? Ask of
the darkness below the ground:

A hot day beside the church,
the table cloth spread out on the grass,
somebody's funeral going on behind.




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